TURKEY: Revolutionary Musicians Grup Yorum Go On Hunger Strike

Photo: Members of Grup Yorum perform in protest of concert ban in Ankara

By Mike Talavera

Members of the Turkish revolutionary band Grup Yorum, seven of whom are currently in prison, have been on hunger strike for several weeks in protest of repression by the fascist Erdogan administration. The group is demanding that all its members be released, their names be taken off the “terror” list, its cultural center in Istanbul stop being raided by the police, and that concert bans be lifted.

Grup Yorum was established in 1985 by four students at Marmara University. Since then, the group has been relentlessly persecuted for its progressive lyrics and revolutionary activism.

“One of their most notable performances was for their 25th Anniversary in İnönü football stadium where 55,000 people joined them in June 2010,” a supporter told Incendiary. “They also had one million spectators at their ‘Independent Turkey’ concert in 2015.”

Most recently, Grup Yorum performed at a UK festival with 10,000 attendees.

There are currently outstanding warrants for four members of the band, forcing two of them to flee to Europe. However persecution waits for them there as well, as both the United Kingdom and Germany have both taken actions against the group.

The old Turkish state has repeatedly ransacked the Idil Culture Center where Grup Yorum performs and keeps its instruments during “state of emergencies.” The cover of their latest album, İlle Kavga (in English, “struggle no matter what”), shows the smashed instruments that were left in the wake of one such police raid.

Photo used in Grup Yorum’s latest album cover with instruments destroyed in police raid

Grup Yorum has received solidarity from within Turkey and internationally as they approach the eleventh week of their hunger strike. Support organizations have coordinated protests and concerts to raise support for the band. Some supporters have even begun their own solidarity hunger strikes.

Incendiary calls on our readers to support all political prisoners and to support the hunger strike of Grup Yorum!